Practical, profitable, protected - A starter guide to developing sustainable tourism in protected areas

This book is a practical manual on how to develop and manage tourism in protected areas. It is for all those responsible for the management of protected areas as tourism destinations. It focuses on protected areas that are in an early stage of their tourism development and wish to do this in a well-planned and sustainable manner. Examples of such areas are the more than 26,000 Natura 2000 sites which have recently been recognised
by 27 European countries.

The manual with more than 30 case studies was published on February 10, 2012 and demonstrates how visitors, conservation and host communities can all be winners. The practical ideas, case studies, guidelines and tools featured in the manual aim to give confidence and support to start a sustainable tourism "journey”. The reader will find ideas and examples of working proactively, effectively and inexpensively with visitors as well as tourism entrepreneurs.
Chapter one discusses some background issues and the links between tourism and sustainable development, as well initiatives to support sustainable tourism. The following chapters are made up of practical solutions and all feature key principles, ideas and tools which protected-area managers and staff can use to ensure that tourism works for their area and their local communities - for example by developing a tourism strategy (chapter 2), working in partnership with others (chapter 3), offering the right attractions for visitors (chapter 4), communicating clearly (chapter 5) and making the most of income generating opportunities (chapter 6).
Developing tourism in protected areas benefits the local economies and society as a whole by making beautiful places accessible. It also creates additional opportunities for protected-area managers to benefit more from the economic value of their areas by generating income from entrance fees, permits, merchandise sales and other resources. Chapter six discusses the options how protected-area managers can generate income from tourism related activities. Protected-area managers have different tools at their disposal to generate additional income from tourism. Entrance fee systems are the most straightforward but can be difficult to implement for practical or socio-cultural reasons. More accepted are user fees that visitors pay for tourist services or attractions in the area. Concessions and leases can generate significant income if the operators manage to create successful tourism businesses. In some cases, it may be better to operate these commercial activities directly. Finally, voluntourism may be an interesting way to reduce cost, for example of staff, by letting visitors do the work – for free.
This manual brings together state-of-the-art knowledge and experiences from different parts of Europe and can serve as a basic reference document and was developed and published with financial support of the EU LIFE+ programme. Produced by a team of Europe's leading experts, this manual combines expertise from EUROPARC Consulting, bringing in more than 30 years of experience in developing tourism in Europe's leading protected areas; the EuropeanCentre for Eco and Agro Tourism (ECEAT), adding the perspective of the tourism sector and entrepreneurs; and the Latvian Country Tourism Association (Lauku Ceļotājs) contributing the specific lessons learned in the frame of the LIFE+ POLPROP-NATURA (LIFE07ENV/LV/000981) project which aimed at the creation of a model for sustainable tourism development in the Latvian Slītere National Park. Many of the best practices and case studies in this manual are based on this Sustainable Tourism Model.
Not every detail will be found in this manual. It aims to provide a practical and workable framework for the relevant topics. Each chapter ends with an overview of background documents that will provide you with more detail about the discussed topics. The library of background documents can be found at
Please find the full manual here.
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